DOE Wind Program Selects Seven Projects to Demonstrate Next-Generation Offshore Wind Technologies

December 12, 2012

The Energy Department today announced seven offshore wind awards for projects in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia. As part of the Energy Department's broader efforts to launch an offshore wind industry in the United States, these engineering, design, and deployment projects will support innovative offshore installations in state and federal waters for commercial operation by 2017.

In the initial phase, each project will receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design and permitting phase of this award. The Department will select up to three of these projects for follow-on phases that focus on siting, construction, and installation and aim to achieve commercial operation by 2017. These projects will receive up to $47 million over four years, subject to congressional appropriations.

The seven projects selected for the first phase of this six-year initiative include:

  • Baryonyx Corporation, based in Austin, Texas, plans to install three 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines in state waters near Port Isabel, Texas. The project will demonstrate an advanced jacket foundation design and integrate lessons learned from the oil and gas sector on hurricane-resistant facility design, installation procedures, and personnel safety.
  • Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm plans to install up to six direct-drive turbines in state waters three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The project will result in an advanced bottom-mounted foundation design and innovative installation procedures to mitigate potential environmental impacts. The company expects this project to achieve commercial operation by 2015.
  • Lake Erie Development Corporation, a regional public-private partnership based in Cleveland, Ohio, plans to install nine 3-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines on "ice breaker" monopile foundations designed to reduce ice loading. The project will be installed on Lake Erie, seven miles off the coast of Cleveland.
  • Seattle, Washington-based Principle Power plans to install five semi-submersible floating foundations outfitted with 6-megawatt direct-drive offshore wind turbines. The project will be sited in deep water 10 to 15 miles from Coos Bay, Oregon. Principle Power's semi-submersible foundations will be assembled near the project site in Oregon, helping to reduce installation costs.
  • Statoil North America of Stamford, Connecticut plans to deploy four 3-megawatt wind turbines on floating spar buoy structures in the Gulf of Maine off Boothbay Harbor at a water depth of approximately 460 feet. These spar buoys will be assembled in harbor to reduce installation costs and then towed to the installation site to access the Gulf of Maine's extensive deep water offshore wind resources.
  • The University of Maine, based in Orono, plans to install a pilot floating offshore wind farm with two 6-megawatt direct-drive turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations near Monhegan Island. These concrete foundations could result in improvements in commercial-scale production and provide offshore wind projects with a cost-effective alternative to traditional steel foundations.
  • Dominion Virginia Power of Richmond plans to design, develop, and install two 6-megawatt direct-drive turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach on innovative "twisted jacket" foundations that offer the strength of traditional jacket or space-frame structures but use substantially less steel.

Offshore wind represents a large, untapped energy resource for the United States, offering over 4,000 gigawatts of clean, domestic electricity potential—four times the nation's current total generation capacity. According to a new report commissioned by the Energy Department, a U.S. offshore wind industry that takes advantage of this abundant domestic resource could support up to 200,000 manufacturing, construction, operation, and supply chain jobs across the country and drive over $70 billion in annual investments by 2030. Offshore wind represents an economic and energy opportunity that could mirror the success of land-based wind development.

The Energy Department's efforts to advance innovative offshore wind technologies support the Obama Administration's comprehensive National Offshore Wind Strategy to develop a sustainable, world-class offshore wind industry. As part of that strategy, the Energy Department continues to work with partners across the government, including the Department of the Interior, to conduct resource assessments, streamline siting and permitting, and overcome technical and market challenges to installation, operations, and grid interconnection.

Find more information on these projects. View an interactive map showing both the announced wind projects and U.S. offshore wind resource potential on Energy.gov.